Synthese 177 (1):19-40 (2010)

Authors
Ingo Brigandt
University of Alberta
Abstract
The discussion presents a framework of concepts that is intended to account for the rationality of semantic change and variation, suggesting that each scientific concept consists of three components of content: 1) reference, 2) inferential role, and 3) the epistemic goal pursued with the concept’s use. I argue that in the course of history a concept can change in any of these components, and that change in the concept’s inferential role and reference can be accounted for as being rational relative to the third component, the concept’s epistemic goal. This framework is illustrated and defended by application to the history of the gene concept. It is explained how the molecular gene concept grew rationally out of the classical gene concept despite a change in reference, and why the use and reference of the contemporary molecular gene concept may legitimately vary from context to context.
Keywords Theoretical concepts  Conceptual change  Semantic variation  Epistemic goals  Gene concept
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2010
DOI 10.1007/s11229-009-9623-8
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 64,209
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - University of Chicago Press.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas Samuel Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Philosophy of Experimental Biology.Marcel Weber - 2004 - Cambridge University Press.
Philosophy of Biological Science.David L. Hull - 1974 - Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall.

View all 57 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Truth and Objectivity in Conceptual Engineering.Sarah Sawyer - 2020 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 63 (9-10):1001-1022.
Conceptual Engineering, Truth, and Efficacy.Jennifer Nado - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 7):1507-1527.
The Role of Concepts in Fixing Language.Sarah Sawyer - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (5):555-565.
The Revisionist’s Rubric: Conceptual Engineering and the Discontinuity Objection.Michael Prinzing - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (8):854-880.
The Points of Concepts: Their Types, Tensions, and Connections.Matthieu Queloz - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (8):1122-1145.

View all 46 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-06-20

Total views
436 ( #19,401 of 2,455,355 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
7 ( #98,311 of 2,455,355 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes